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European success for Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers
5:46pm Monday 17th September 2012 in Sport
Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers rounded out 2012 with yet more silverware on Saturday - and team manager Geoff Morphitis is adamant the record-breaking season certainly won’t be a flash in the pan.
In the last competitive action of a season in which the Olympics promised to inspire a generation it was the club’s juniors that gave the campaign a most appropriate bookend.
Victory at the European Champion Clubs Cup in Slovenia saw the Harriers’ youngsters upstage some big-spending continental rivals but also become the first GB representatives to lift the title in nearly 30 years.
The success of the juniors came hot on the heels of an outdoor season which has seen the men claim the British Athletics League Premiership title and the women secure passage back into the top flight.
And with Premiership rugby outfit Saracens’ investment into their home at Copthall Stadium reaping huge rewards Morphitis believes the success of the juniors last weekend can be the start of big things in Barnet.
"It was fantastic for the juniors to win in Slovenia because compared to the teams we were up against we were a bit of a rag-tag bunch," said Morphitis - whose team finished top of the pile with 110 points, five points clear of Turkish outfit Enka Spor Kulubu Dernegi.
"The Turkish team that was second had all the kit, the tracksuits and everything else but the fact that we won shows the team spirit that we have at the club which is fantastic.
"It is a great atmosphere we have and in the junior ranks in Slovenia we showed that there is a lot of potential for the future.
"In the next few seasons I believe a lot of the team in Slovenia will be in GB junior squads and competing international because there is a lot of talent in there.
"It has been a great season for the club and one of the best ever and to finish it by winning the European Champion Clubs Cup was fantastic."
One of the standout names who will be expected to deliver the GB vests Morphitis is predicting will be sprint star John Otugade.
The 17-year-old turned heads by taking the 100 and 200m double in Ljubljana and Morphitis is predicting a bright future for the rookie sprinter - so long as he’s allowed to progress at his own pace.
"I think John has a lot of talent but he is not going to be one of those sprinters who runs a ridiculously quick time and then disappears," added Morphitis.
"He is a very intelligent lad and is going to get better and better but he will do it steadily as he gets older. His 100m and 200m wins were great, especially to run personal bests so late in the season but there were lots of great performances in the team."